June 1, 2000

The Boom in Pearls

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’Net News

?click-and-brick? site to launch at jck show a web site that lets consumers purchase fine jewelry and gifts through a ?click-and-brick? setup will debut june 2 in las vegas. vivamoda.com, founded by jewelry and auction industry veterans deborah lira and jason nelson, provides access to luxury items either online through the site?s retailer, designer, or auction galleries or offline in particip…

Editor’s Farewell

we know life has its transitions, but sometimes they come upon us with surprising speed. that’s happening to me. after only 26 months at jck, i’m taking an irresistible new job in the dot-com economy and turning over the reins as editor-in-chief to my able colleague, hedda schupak. before i depart, though, i want to share a few observations i’ve collected about the jewelry ind…

Color Bind

for a low-key business, the colored diamond market has seen a lot of action lately?though not necessarily the kind of action it would wish. in the last year, two companies?novadiamond in provo, utah, and bellataire diamonds inc. of new york (formerly pegasus overseas ltd.)?have unveiled plans to sell treated green diamonds.

Diamond Notes

de beers web site suffers security glitch de beers? www.adiamondisforever.com web site recently had a security glitch that could have let hackers see the names and addresses of thousands of site registrants. according to cnet, an internet news service, a san francisco bay area computer consultant stumbled on the embarrassing problem while searching for his home address on a search engine.

Supplier News

relocation news premier gem offers co-branding plan premier gem corp., new york, a 30-year de beers diamond trading co. sightholder, has launched a co-branding plan to identify retail stores as a leading source for fine diamonds. the program will offer internet, advertising, and public relations support as well as customized promotional material.

What’s New – Business Services

the international gemmological institute has reintroduced its gem audit to ensure consumer confidence in jewelry e-tailers. an internet company submits a diamond and lab report to igi; the lab’s gemologists confirm the authenticity of the diamond and its measurements and weight. laser inscribing is also available.

If De Beers Is Down, Why Is the Market Up?

for years, jewelers wondered what would happen if de beers no longer controlled the diamond market. would prices fall? would promotions dry up? we’re beginning to see the answer, and it’s looking … pretty good. in fact, the diamond market is stronger today than it’s been in years. from the low end to the high, prices are rising, and instead of the market being flooded with desirable stone…

Your Appraisal Questions Answered

q: we’ve been thinking about providing a “guaranteed appraised value” on items we sell. other stores do it, and we were wondering if there are any reasons we shouldn’t. a: it’s not a good idea. very often such a tactic runs afoul of deceptive-advertising laws. even when it’s done in compliance with the law, consumers usually aren’t given all the information they need—for examp…

Letters

early disclosure i agree wholeheartedly with your editorial (“taking disclosure to the next level,” jck, april 2000, p. 196) that full disclosure should begin with gem treaters and importers. without disclosure at the start of the chain, all of us are at increased risk every time we sell any gemstone.

Avoiding Backroom Accidents

the customer?s engagement ring hadn?t been removed in 25 years. two prongs were broken, and the stone was held in place by a quarter-century?s buildup of hardened detergent residue, petrified hand lotion, and simple dirt. the space under the stone?s pavilion was packed solid. it was impossible even to tell if the gem was a diamond.

People

mint director to head zale’s online business zale corp. has appointed philip n. diehl, former director of the u.s. mint, as president of zale.com and a senior vice president of zale corp. diehl will lead the development of zale’s web-based business, including site development and online sales, marketing, fulfillment, and customer relationship management for all company brands, inclu…

Synthetics in Your Inventory? Here’s How to Tell

with new gem finds constantly in the news and gemstone treatments becoming increasingly sophisticated, it’s a challenge these days to determine whether a gem’s color occurs naturally or as the result of an enhancement. tough as that may be, it shouldn’t overshadow the even more important detective work you need to do: distinguishing synthetics from natural gems.

Fashion Facets

celebrity roundup every march, while the world waits to find out who will win the oscars, our industry wonders which celebrity will wear whose jewelry. this year, an estimated $100 million worth of diamond jewelry sparkled at the 72nd annual academy awards, not to mention the pearls, gold, and gemstones also on display that night.

Avoiding the Legal Pitfalls of Hiring and Firing

lawsuits over alleged discrimination in employment more than tripled during the last decade, rising from not quite 7,000 cases in 1990 to more than 21,000 cases in 1998, according to the u.s. justice department. plaintiffs won only about one-third of all civil rights trials during the period, but the proportion of successful plaintiffs who won judgments of $10 million or more increased from 1% …

Sculptors, Painters, and Jewelry Makers

when most people think of 20th-century art, they envision picasso’s jangled portraits, alexander calder’s playful mobiles, or perhaps salvador dalí’s surrealist dreamscapes. few think of jewelry. but in fact, all three of these famous artists designed jewelry—as did several others who were well-known by the 1950s.

Tradeshows

ags conclave draws record crowd more than 800 retailers and suppliers converged on philadelphia for the american gem society?s annual educational conclave. ags officials said the march event drew about 8% more visitors than last year?s in new orleans and had the largest attendance in 14 years. ?there?s a resurgence of interest in the ags,? says the organization?s marketing director, adam graham.

GemNotes

synthetic moissanite is now available through two major wholesale distributors: stuller settings in lafayette, la., and rio grande of albuquerque, n.m. charles & colvard, the source for both faceted loose synthetic moissanite stones and moissanite jewelry, has signed agreements with both firms to become their loose moissanite supplier.

Upbeat Basel Fair Gets A Contemporary Makeover

basel 2000, the world?s largest annual watch, clock, and jewelry show in basel, switzerland (april 23-30), began the new century in a buoyant mood. business and attendance were up. celebrities from diverse fields?including supermodel cindy crawford, actor sir peter ustinov, and anthony oppenheimer of de beers?strolled the show.

Up Front

top of the news – swiss gem lab claims foolproof ‘pegasus’ detection a leading gemological association and de beers say they can detect the pegasus color-enhancing treatment—but the people behind the “whitened” stones aren’t so sure. dr. henry hanni, director of the ssef swiss gemmological institute in basel, says his lab can identify all “ge pol” enhanced di…

Associations

ags to build a new lab facility spurred by the runaway success of its three-year-old diamond grading lab, the american gem society is launching a $4 million expansion project at its las vegas headquarters. the lab will be transplanted from the main building into its own freestanding facility next door, and the headquarters itself will be enlarged.

Should You Move Your Store?

a jeweler with a successful mall store did it. so did one with a century-old downtown business. even a profitable local chain did it. all three left malls or downtown centers and relocated to highly visible freestanding buildings, redefining themselves as prestigious ?destination stores? in the process.

Move Over, Mars: Venus Holds The Purse Strings

if the 1960s belonged to the flower children, and the 1980s gave birth to the über-consuming yuppies, then it’s a safe bet that the 1990s’ historical legacy will belong to women. according to a recent article in the christian science monitor, by the end of the ’90s, women in america had emerged as a financially high-powered demographic segment poised to give generously of…

Keep the Tissues Handy

one day about 10 years ago, a man came into zenker jewelers in royersford, pa., and asked owner cathy calhoun if she bought used wedding bands. calhoun responded that she did and that her price would be based on the value of the gold. the man promptly removed the band he was wearing, took a hammer from a tool belt around his waist, and smashed the ring on the store?s formica counter.

The Boom in Pearls

pearl sales continue to rise despite the japanese oyster scourge that started five years ago. to compensate for the dearth of akoyas—still consumers’ favorite, according to a new jck poll—manufacturers are promoting chinese freshwater pearls, exotic pearls like those from the california abalone (see the article starting on p.

Tropical Flower In Full Bloom

the saga of reinhold jewelers of san juan, puerto rico, is a story of both transformation and permanence. the store blossomed from a staunchly traditional retailer into a contemporary jewelry gallery, and its operation shifted from a typical family business to a model of business-school savvy. throughout the changes, it has remained true to the vision of its owner.

CounterPoint

the credo of exemplary customer service several years ago, i attended a conference at the ritz carlton hotel in amelia island, fla. the ritz carlton believes in and emphasizes customer service. it provides employees with a card called the ritz credo, which charges them to take whatever action is necessary to make a guest feel welcome.

Why We Don’t Need SI3

in the trade, we encounter many diamonds we call “borderline.” among the most controversial of these stones are the ones that fall on the cusp of si2 and i1 on the gemological institute of america’s clarity grading scale. the distinction is important because a stigma is associated with diamonds that are sufficiently included to merit an i grade; an i diamond is less likely to sell t…

Are Treatments Killing the Romance of Gems?

a specter is haunting the jewelry industry?the specter of treatments. consider these excerpts from recent lab reports on ruby, sapphire, emerald, and pearl: ?indications of thermal enhancement?artificial glassy residue present in fissures.? ?indication of diffusion treatment present.? ?clarity-enhanced by artificial resin, determined through raman investigation.

It’s All About Accessories!

three venerable luxury jewelry firms, mikimoto of japan, chopard of switzerland, and carrera y carrera of spain, have joined the growing cadre of high-end jewelers extending their brands to include a collection of signature accessories and gifts. mikimoto and carrera y carrera announced the launch of their new accessories collections at the basel fair in march, and chopard, which has had access…

Black Opal

opal, a curious gem, is composed of tiny silica spheres stacked on top of one another, a structure that creates a unique splash of rainbow colors. found in sedimentary rock layers that lie beneath desert sands, opal ranges from transparent to opaque and can occur with or without the trademark flashes of color.